Therapist reveals why self-care is essential for mums - but have we been doing it all wrong?

It can be hard to find time for self-care as a parent, but when you do it's important to get it right

Mum and daughter doing self-care
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Self-care isn't always at the top of every mum's to-do list, but a therapist has revealed why it should be - and shared how to do self-care the right way.

Self-care is perhaps the buzzword of the decade so far. It's great, this focus on physical health, our mental health, and our wellbeing, especially for parents who struggle to make time for themselves even under the best of circumstances. 

But it can be hard to schedule in alone time and some parents may even feel mum-guilt at the idea of prioritising their own needs over those of their children - even if it is just for a short time to try out one of the best 5-minute face masks for busy mums

However, a therapist has now revealed that self-care is vital for mums so they can avoid developing parental burnout, anxiety, and even depression which will, at some point, massively affect their lives and, subsequently, their parenting

“Self-care starts with us giving ourselves permission to say yes to ourselves beyond our roles as parent, partner or professional—something we as women have been socially conditioned to have a hard time doing,” Kaitlin Soule, a therapist and the author of A Little Less of a Hot Mess: The Modern Mom’s Guide to Growth and Evolution, told Motherly

"We put ourselves on a fast track to burnout, anxiety, depression and a life that doesn’t feel like our own.  We can only do that for so long before we start to experience feelings of bitterness, resentment and anger and risk pushing away the very people we love the most."

But the type of self-care Soule wants mums to prioritise isn't the kind we tend to think of when we hear the term 'self-care.' She explains, “Pedicures, massages, weekends away—those things are wonderful, but they [alone] don’t often help our feelings of burnout."

So while you can still make time to try out some of the best self-care ideas to boost your health, manage stress and stock up on products will help you look and feel fresh, Soule wants you to also focus on what will nourish you in the long-term.

For one example, the expert shares, "If you feel like you get a glimpse of the feeling of flow or joy when you’re hiking, put that first hike on the calendar without putting the pressure on yourself to make it a regular thing. Just go, and let it be imperfectly good.”

As well as planning days where you can do what nourishes your mind and body, the expert also wants mums to implement small things into their everyday to keep on top of their mental health. Things like the classic getting off your phone and making sure to share the mental load with your partner or co-parent or a grandparent who can step in to offer support are vital to keep you going. 

But the most important aspect of self-care is your mental approach to it. “Challenge the things you tell yourself or the things you’ve been told about taking time for yourself—and evaluate the systems in place for equity,” Soule says. Remember, self-care isn't selfish. 

Being a mum is stressful. Make sure to look out for the signs of stress in both yourself, your partner and your mum friends. If you do notice yourself getting too overwhelmed, make time to figure out how you can best manage your stress and carve out some time to try out relaxation techniques for stress - your body will thank you! 

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse
Royal News and Entertainment writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is royal news and entertainment writer for She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.